Charges of Russia-Trump collusion go up in smoke as the sideshow ends without a bang
By S.T. Patrick
The Russians are coming! And they’re coming for Russiagate special prosecutor Robert “Sideshow Bob” Mueller. As journalist Daniel Lazare opened his newest article, “Don’t look now, but a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has just shut down half of Mueller’s Russian-interference case.”
In February 2018, Mueller and his team indicted the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian company, its owner Yevgeniy Prigozhin, and 12 IRA employees. The charges leveled against them were entering the U.S. under false pretenses to use social media platforms in an effort to “sow discord” and “interfere in U.S. political and electoral processes without detection of their Russian affiliation.” If the crux of the Russiagate tale was going to be true, these were the perpetrators, and getting them was vital to Mueller’s credibility as the special prosecutor.
Mueller’s report accused Prigozhin of having “ties to President Vladimir Putin,” controlling a Russian entity that pushed Donald Trump and disparaged Hillary Clinton, and partaking in “active measures,” an intelligence term that “refers to operations conducted by Russian security services aimed at influencing the course of international affairs.” Because a Russian business is successful, and because its corporate leader has generally stated but never specified “ties” to Putin, the company must be an agent of the Russian government and its intelligence agency, the FSB. Of course, neither Mueller nor the American mainstream media would claim that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg or Amazon and Jeff Bezos were agents of the American government and the CIA because they have caroused with high-level American politicians, or, as in the case of Amazon, does business with the federal government.
In a recent turn of events, Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered Mueller to stop pushing claims that Prigozhin and the IRA turned the entire 2016 U.S. election in their favor by using Facebook ads to make people vote for Trump. Friedrich ordered Mueller to stymie the allegations because they unfairly prejudice Concord Management and Consulting, another company owned by Prigozhin.
Mueller, then, is hurting Concord by proxy by going after the IRA.
In May 2018, Concord did something that Mueller was never expecting. Rather than run scared from a tough American prosecutor, the former head of the FBI, never to be seen on American soil again, Concord instead hired Reed Smith, an expensive D.C. law firm, and demanded their own day in court. Concord didn’t have to do this; they were beyond the reach of U.S. law, and Mueller was knowingly engaging in a war for public relations that would never be decided in court. Then Prigozhin legally told Mueller to “put up or shut up.” Friedrich gave Mueller only one option, the latter.
Mueller only has two poles on which he can wrap his 2016 election theory: one New York Times article stating that Prigozhin is close to Putin and the claim that it was Russia that stole 28,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee and gave them to WikiLeaks. The former was just nixed by the federal judge, while Julian Assange, himself, has repeatedly killed the Russia-to-WikiLeaks email theories. After years of digging at a well and hoping that up from the ground would come a-bubblin’ crude, Mueller’s folly is bone dry.
Democrats paraded their new favorite son before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees hoping to jot down a long list of reasons to impeach Trump. Instead, they ended up embarrassing Mueller into quite a number of refusals to comment. In fact, many online commentators wondered if Mueller is losing it mentally or if he was feigning memory loss so he wouldn’t have to answer sensitive questions that might reveal severe anti-Trump bias on the part of his investigators.
In other incriminatingly bad news for Mueller and his report, the smoking gun that was the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney now has no bullets. On June 9, 2016, attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort at Trump Tower. For Democrats, Never Trumpers, oligarchs, and Deep State operators, this was to be Collusion Central, the meeting that proved the Trump-Putin plot to rob Clinton of her rightful place in the Oval Office.
After the report was released and the collusion theory was dead, Mueller moved to “obstruction of justice,” which investigative reporter Lucy Komisar compares to “someone being apprehended for resisting arrest without committing any other crime.”
Veselnitskaya did meet with Trump aides at Trump Tower. It was arranged by British music publicist Robert Goldstone, notorious for getting his clients what they want by any means necessary. The Russian attorney wanted a meeting, so Goldstone told the incoming administration that she had dirt on Clinton. She didn’t. She had nothing and was there, instead, to lobby against the Magnitsky Act, the sole reason she was in America. The act—named for Russian tax advisor Sergei Magnitsky, who was killed in prison after 11 months in police custody—is complex and involves sanctions against a number of Russian citizens who may or may not have been connected to Magnitsky’s downfall and death. Regardless, she was not at Trump Tower to collude, to pass along any information about Clinton, or to bring Moscow knee-deep into U.S. electoral politics.
Mueller investigated the reasons surrounding the organizing of the meeting—Goldstone’s lie— and not the meeting itself. Thus, there was no collusion stemming from the infamous Trump Tower meeting. When Mueller sat before the House, answering seething questions aimed at exposing someone, anyone, in the administration, he grasped at straws to find anything of substance.
We now know that since May 17, 2017, the day Mueller was appointed, this has been a $40 million investigation. At this point, it seems like a large sum to play Story Hour before Congress, relating fictional yarns that were the hopes and dreams of a special prosecutor and his congressional playmates.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected] He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.